“S.O.S. Sevan” Initiative
S.O.S. Sevan Initiative has addressed an open letter to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, RA National Assembly Chairman Ara Babloyan, Vardevan Grigoryan - Chairman of RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Governance, Agriculture and Nature Protection with a demand to reject the bill on the additional water outlet from Lake Sevan in the amount of 100 million cum.
S.O.S. Sevan Initiative is still represented by 72 organizations and is open for joining.
S.O.S. Sevan Initiative is applying to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, so as he takes measures to call back the bill on making amendments to RA Law 'On Approving Annual and Complex Programs for Recovery, Conservation, Reproduction and Use of Lake Sevan Ecosystem' and to withdraw it from the agenda, as well as to punish the officials in charge of water losses and officials having submitted false data underlying the bill.
S.O.S. Sevan Initiative is applying to RA National Assembly Chairman Ara Babloyan and MPs demanding to reject the bill, as it is groundless and illegal.
S.O.S. Sevan Initiative is applying to Vardevan Grigoryan - Chairman of RA National Assembly Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Governance, Agriculture and Nature Protection proposing to invite the representatives of S.O.S. Sevan Initiative to the committee meeting to be held on 30 June to discuss this bill.
S.O.S. Sevan Initiative's substantiation particularly says, 'Lake Sevan is a specifically protected system, which has economic, environmental, social, scientific, recreational, historical and cultural, aesthetic, health, climatic and religious, as well as military significance. It's the largest strategic repository of freshwater as laid down in RA law on Lake Sevan. The bill proposed by the Armenian Government doesn't describe the impact of additional water intake of Lake Sevan. The project is not properly substantiated neither economically, socially, ecologically or environmentally. The bill rationale lacks the estimates of reservoirs and water flows and monitoring outcomes.
Reminder: in 2001-2012 the State Committee on Water Industry implemented World Bank loaning project 'Irrigation Development System' costing US $ 30.8 million, according to which the water of the Araks River should have been directed to the irrigation system of Ararat Valley. If this project was implemented fully, there would be no need to take additional water from Lake Sevan, and if the same problems have arisen, what the loaning funds have been spent on?
It should be mentioned that according to the Supervisory Chamber's report (SC resolution 7/7 dated on 20 March 2015) in 2013 the water intake of 'Sevan-Hrazdan-Jrar' CJSC made up 502,240.0 thousand m3, irrigation - 326,440.0 thousand m3, loss - 175,800.0 thousand m3 or 35% of the factually received water. In 2014 the water intake of 'Sevan-Hrazdan-Jrar' CJSC made up 559,800.0 thousand m3, irrigation - 353,190.0 thousand m3, loss - 206,610.0 thousand m3 or 36.91% of the factually received water.
The data in the bill, which says from 2001 to 19 June 2017 the lake level has increased by 4.59 meters, don't comply with the reality. This figure has been estimated with impermissible methodological mistakes. This figure includes the 20 cm of the correction calculated over the level of the Baltic Sea made in 2011 and, secondly, the data on the highest level available in June 2017 were compared with the lowest level of the lake in 2001, which is a methodological gross mistake and leads to an artificially high indicator of the lake level by several dozens of centimeters. In reality, the lake level increased in 2001-2017 by 3.94 meters, as of 1 January 2017. Consequently, the water volume in the level has increased only by 5.12 million cum, and not 6 billion cum.
What about the multiplicative effect mentioned in the project, it will only have negative environmental effect, which shall be excluded for Lake Sevan as specifically protected area of nature.
RA Nature Protection Ministry's objection to the bill particularly says, 'Even the further conservation of the current lake level will again jeopardize the formation of a protective layer on the bottom existence of hipolimnion, which will result in the activation of intra-reservoir processes and hydrogen-bearing elements will pass from silt to water environment thus promoting lake eutrification process. Under the conditions of climate change, according to ArmHydroMetereological Service's data, if the temperature of water in Lake Sevan increases by 1 degree, we will experience loss of 70 million cum, and will lose another 36 million cum in case of reduction of precipitation. Any decrease in the level will increase the disturbance of temperature regime. Given non-sustainable ecological state of Lake Sevan ecosystem, it's necessary to ensure annual positive balance of Lake Sevan as set by RA Law 'On Lake Sevan'.'
For our part it should be mentioned that the positive balance of the lake is not determined for any arbitrary period, as 'Ecology' section of the bill rationale says. The balance is considered to be positive, if it ensures permanent increase. In 2012 and 2014 a negative balance of lake level was recorded as a result of additional water intake implementation. Public must be mandatory involved in the discussions of the bill, which hasn't been done so far.'
The letter have been undersigned by:
Territorial Development and Research Center NGO
Public Environmental Alliance (50 NGOs)
EcoLur Informational NGO
Martuni Women's Community Council NGO
Forests of Armenia NGO
Gavar Business Center NGO
Martuni Community Development Center NGO
For Sustainable Human Development Association NGO
Sevan Youth Club NGO
Community Artery NGO
Armenian Environmental Front
Gagik Sukhudyan, Author of Sevan National Park Project
'Azhdahak' Journalists' Association NGO
Civil Voice NGO
Khazer Environmental and Cultural NGO
Public Awareness and Monitoring Center NGO
'Ayas' Sea Research Club NGO
Goy Environmental and Legal NGO
Young Tavush NGO
Ecological Sustainability NGO
'Bari Yert' Car Lovers NGO
19:33 June 27, 2017